Shrimp Stir-Fry with Cookin’ Greens and Spicy Sauce

Over the summer, I received coupons to try any products from the Cookin’ Greens line of frozen vegetables. I frequently forgot the coupons at home on shopping days. And I never quite felt like making a special trip to the store when the coupons stared at me from their spot on the fridge. Eventually, they expired. Unused. I was a bit disappointed that I never found the time to use the coupons.

Despite letting the coupons expire, I still wanted to give the product a try. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I picked up the Athlete’s Mix (collards, kale, spinach, red pepper, and white beans). I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make at the time, But the mix looked very appealing!

The other night, I had some shrimp that needed to be used up. I suggested a pasta, but Bryan didn’t sound very enthusiastic about it, so we decided that I should make a stir-fry instead. This was the perfect opportunity to try the Cookin’ Greens, because we wanted a quick dinner without much fuss. No chopping required. It’s really a toss what you’ve got into the frying pan sort of dinner.

The stir-fry? Delicious (and healthy too)! I was very glad that I’d made enough for leftovers. This will definitely make a reappearance on my dinner table sometime soon! It would probably also go very well with chicken or tofu pieces.

Shrimp Stir-Fry with Spicy Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs, beaten – approximate cost $0.70
  • 2 1/2 cups sticky rice, cooked – approximate cost $0.75
  • 16 pieces of shrimp – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups Cookin’ Greens Athlete’s Mix – approximate cost $2.20
  • 1/4 onion, chopped – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Cook sticky rice according to directions.
  2. Preheat a frying pan and 1/2 teaspoon of grapeseed oil.
  3. Add the onion and shrimp (I used uncooked shrimp with the shell on, a bit more finicky to eat, peeled shrimp will also work well).
  4. Preheat a second frying pan and 1/2 teaspoon of grapeseed oil.
  5. Add the beaten eggs to the hot frying pan.
  6. When egg begins to set, carefully flip it.
  7. Break egg into bite-sized pieces.
  8. Remove egg from frying pan.
  9. Add the ketchup, cane sugar, dark soy sauce and chili garlic sauce to the shrimp.
  10. Mix well to coat.
  11. Add the Cookin’ Greens.
  12. Mix well and cook until heated through.
  13. Divide rice into four portions.
  14. Add equal portions of shrimp and greens.
  15. Decorate with egg.
  16. Drizzle with sesame oil.
  17. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $3.13 per serving).

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From my cookbook collection: Chicken Jalfrezi

Happy Birthday Bryan (The Official Taste Tester here at The Cook’s Sister)! Today, I’m going to celebrate his birthday by sharing links back to some of his favourite foods that I’ve blogged about and share a new recipe that he was very fond of. Check out some of Bryan’s favourites:

As you can probably tell, he really likes Southwest inspired foods and flavours. But… today I’m going to share a recipe from an Indian food cook book that I received as a birthday gift from my best friend a few years ago.

The book is Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6 from Parragon Books). Why do I love this book? All of the recipes are formatted to fit on one page. There are beautiful pictures of the dish on the 2-page fold. The directions are broken down to be simple and clear. And best of all, everything I’ve made from this book has bee delicious, tasting just as good as the Indian food at our local restaurants (sometimes the recipes are a variation of what we’re used to, but always fantastic). I’ve made the Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and now, the chicken jalfrezi.

This book has sat on my shelf for a while. I’ve read through and bookmarked recipes of my favourite dishes at restaurants when I first got it. I’ve thought about giving a few things a try, always dismissing it for one reason or another. It looks too time consuming, I don’t have time to marinate the meat, or I don’t want the apartment to smell like curry for a week were a few of my excuses. So, about a month ago, I finally cracked the cookbook, leafed through the recipes I had bookmarked, and decided on one that I would make.

Afterwards, I contacted the publisher to see if I could share the recipe with you (and, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they said yes!). And so the cooking began. I’m not very familiar with cooking Indian food, so I made a  trip to the grocery store and stuck mostly to the original recipe. I added some yellow pepper for colour and used fresh grape tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. The result? A yummy chicken jalfrezi!

This recipe is about a medium-spicy dish. If you want to turn up the heat,  add more tumeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garam masala. Similarly, use less of these ingredients if you want the dish to be more mild.

Do you stick to a recipe when making new dishes? Or do you feel comfortable making substitutions?

Chicken Jalfrezi

Recipe from Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6, http://www.parragon.com), posted with permission from the publisher

Ingredients

  • 1 pound /9 ounces /500 grams skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 5 1/2 ounces / 150 grams canned chopped tomatoes – approximate cost $1.10
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – approximate cost $0.10
  • Indian (naan) bread or cooked basmati rice to serve – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into  1-inch / 2.5 centimeter cubes and put in a nonmetallic bowl. Add the lemon juice and half the salt and rub well into the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tumeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oil seperates from the spice paste.
  3. Add the marinated chicken, increase the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until it changes colour. Add the warm water and bring to a boil, Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add the bell peppers, increase the heat to medium, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, the, stir in the garam masala. Fold the bell pepper mixture into the curry. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately with Indian bread or cooked basmati rice.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.80 per serving).

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Dairy Free Rice Pudding

First of all, a great big thank you to Cindy from Skip to My Lou who featured my  Spaghetti with Shrimp and Roasted Vegetables recipe!

I’m trying to get the school year off to a good start. I’ve updated my calendar with all of the important deadlines. And now I’m working on good eating and exercise habits. I hope to attend at least three yoga classes each week and, until it snows, I will continue to bike to as many places as possible. As for good eating habits, I’m trying to have a hearty breakfast to start each day and making large meals for dinner that can be enjoyed as leftovers for lunch the next day.

I’m not a huge fan of cereals. Most of them are too sweet for my liking and I find the texture of almond milk a bit strange when mixed with cereal. Instead, I rely on breakfast items that I can make a big batch of and reheat the leftovers  next day. Such as:

We ate quite a few of the breakfast quesadillas this week. I even let Bryan in the kitchen to make them for breakfast one day. However, I also tried out rice pudding made with almond milk (I usually make this with cow’s milk, but was out and wanted to try a diary free option). While my family frequently serves rice pudding as a dessert, I enjoy it very much as a breakfast food!

Dairy Free Rice Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Jasmine rice – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 cups almond milk – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1/2 cup raisins – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 cup water
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Add 1 cup almond milk and 1 cup water to a large pot and bring to a boil.
  2. Add Jasmine rice.
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  4. Cook until rice is tender (about 15-20 minutes).
  5. Whisk remaining 1 cup of almond milk and egg in a bowl.
  6. Add can sugar, almond milk mixture, cinnamon, and raisins to the rice.
  7. Stir well.
  8. Allow to cool and serve either warm or cold!

Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $0.62 per serving).

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Chicken Hearts, Gizzards, and Liver Stir-fry

The weather has been so gorgeous here lately, that I’ve been taking the opportunity to walk more often rather than driving or taking the bus. I decided to take a detour through the park on my way from school to UpTown the other day, expecting to make a short stop by the petting zoo and continue on my way. Somehow, I’d forgotten that there would be baby ducks and geese everywhere, and stopped to take a few photos of the fuzzy ducklings and goslings. So cute!

I think the ducks thought I would feed them, which worked out well for a close-up photo!

The geese, as you could imagine, weren’t as welcoming. The adult goose was hissing at me while I snapped this photo. They are very protective of their goslings. I managed to get this photo and get away safely. The babies are just so adorable, I had to stop! Seeing all the animals return after winter, and the cute little ones is one of my favourite things about spring!


While I was out taking pictures, dinner was marinating in the fridge at home. I’m quite excited to share this recipe with you. It looks like a giant mess of a stir-fry, but it was really tasty. Bryan thought so too, but he rarely complains about anything I serve him, he’s such a good sport when I try out new recipes!

Normally, I avoid cooking liver. It’s cheap, yes, but it’s not always my favourite. It tends to have a weird texture and a strong flavour. It’s one of Bryan’s favourites, so I make try to buy it every month or two and eat it for one meal, leaving Bryan to finish off any leftovers. However… this adapted stir-fry recipe is a hit. I enjoyed it and didn’t really notice the things I normally dislike about liver. I will be making this again. In fact, I will probably make this often. On top of being delicious, it was very affordable!

How do you usually prepare liver? Any tips for having it turn out delicious every time? Please link to recipes if you can!

Chicken Hearts, Gizzards, and Liver Stir-fry

Recipe adapted from Simple Chicken Liver And Gizzard and How to make the green seasoning paste that’s so unique to Caribbean cuisine, both recipes from Caribbean Pot

Ingredients

  • 1 pound chicken livers – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1/2 pound chicken hearts – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 pound chicken gizzards – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 Vidalia onion, diced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.45
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, de-seeded and minced – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 lime, juiced – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cups of uncooked Basmati rice – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  1. Cut the chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers into bite-sized chunks.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chicken hearts and gizzards (set the liver pieces aside for now), lime juice, salt, pepper, tomato pieces, garlic, jalapeño pepper pieces, thyme, cilantro.
  3. Mix well and marinate in the fridge for 2 hours (or longer).
  4. Cook Basmati rice according to directions.
  5. In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat.
  6. Add the onions and cook until softened (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add the chicken and marinade to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes, the chicken pieces should brown a bit.
  8. Add water, Worcestershire sauce, and soy sauce and reduce heat to simmer.
  9. Cover the pot with a lid and allow mixture to cook for 30 minutes (stirring occasionally and adding water if liquid begins to boil away).
  10. Turn heat up to medium.
  11. Add liver pieces.
  12. Remove lid from pot and cook for 5-10 minutes (until the liver is cooked through, watch it closely at this point, because liver cooks quickly).
  13. Serve over Basmati rice and enjoy!

Makes 5 servings (approximate cost: $2.13 per serving).

Chicken and Rice Soup

With summer coming to an end and the cooler weather of fall arriving, it seems that everyone around me has caught a cold. This is a time when I like to prepare a large batch of chicken and rice soup. It’s comforting whether you’re the one who is sick or you’re trying to avoid catching the cold from those around you.

This soup is fairly basic. The most time consuming portion is making the broth, however this is a hands-off process if you have a slow cooker. From start to finish, this soup takes about 8 ½ hours to prepare, but only about half an hour of that time is spent in the kitchen.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Chicken and rice soup

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken cut into pieces (or 4 chicken legs), bone in and skin on – approximate cost $8.00
  • 3-4 dried bay leaves – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 cooking onions, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2-3 teaspoons of sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • Water
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3-4 carrots, chopped into bite-sized pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 cup of your favourite medium or long grain rice (I used basmati) – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon of dried parsley – approximate cost $0.10
  • Salt and pepper to taste – approximate cost $0.10

Method

  1. Combine chicken, onion, bay leaves, and sea salt in a slow cooker. Add enough water to entirely cover the chicken with about 2-3 inches of water.
  2. Cook on low temperature for about 6-8 hours.
  3. Carefully remove cooked chicken from the liquid and place on a cutting board, allow to cool until you can handle the chicken.
  4. Remove and discard skin and bones.
  5. Chop chicken into small, bite-sized pieces.
  6. Return chicken to the slow cooker.
  7. Add carrots, celery, and dried parsley to the slow cooker.
  8. Add more salt and/or pepper to taste.
  9. Turn slow cooker to high heat, cover, and cook for about half an hour (or until the rice is ready)
  10. Cook rice according to package, using brother from the slow cooker instead of water
  11. Add rice to the slow cooker and mix the soup well.

Serve immediately or keeps well in the freezer for about a month.

Makes about 7 servings (approximate cost: $1.74 per serving)

Curried Goat

As a child, I had neighbours who cooked wonderfully fragrant food from their homeland, Guyana. I remember indulging in many of these foods, trying most things at least once but picking out a few favourites that my brother and I would constantly request. Among our favourites then were freshly made pita bread (which we would dip in ketchup) and a deep-friend chickpea flour that we called peas dough (which is actually called bara).A few years ago (after being apart for many years and mostly forgetting about the wonderful food) we visited their new home and got to relive some of our favourite childhood foods. On the day we arrived, we got to eat bara. I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat anything else that day. Another thing that made the day memorable was watching my brother eat a huge teaspoon of homemade hot sauce (I recall this sauce making me cry as a child from the spiciness).A few days, we enjoyed a huge feast. There was barbecued chicken and lamb as well as a variety of curries ranging from mildly spicy to burn a hole in your stomach if you’re not used to it. That’s when I tried curried goat. I’m not sure if that was for the first time, or if I’d just forgotten. Either way, it was fantastic and I was itching to have it again when I returned home. Lucky for me, everything I needed was stocked at my local supermarket!I have adapted this recipe from the one found here (my variation is less spicy and cooks longer so the meat is more tender): http://www.guyanaoutpost.com/recipes/recipes-c.shtml#Curry%20%28Goat%29, which was a great reference and starting point for s dish I’d never attempted to make at home before.

Curried Goat

Adapted from Guyana Outpost

Curried goat
Ingredients

  • Approximately 1 lb of stewing goat meat, cubed with the bone in (I buy it from Zehrs, where the meat comes diced and ready to cook) – approximate cost $7.00
  • 3 heaping teaspoon mild curry – approximate cost $0.50 powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 large Spanish onion – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 medium-sized red potatoes, leave the skin on – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice – approximate cost $0.15
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt to taste – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cups uncooked Basmati rice – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Sprinkle meat with half of the curry powder and half of the cumin, then set aside.
  2. Dice onion and potatoes, set the potatoes aside.
  3. In a large pot, heat a small amount of oil then add the remaining half of the curry powder and half of the cumin. Stir rapidly for about 1 minute then add the onion.
  4. Cook onion for about 2-3 minutes then add the meat and cook for another 10-12 minutes (or until the meat looks cooked on the outside).
  5. Add enough water to just cover the mixture.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium.
  7. Continue to cook for about 2 ½ hours.
  8. Add the potatoes to the mixture. If the mixture is no longer covered by the sauce, add a bit more water so it is just covered.
  9. Time for a taste test! Taste your curry sauce. If it tastes watery, add 1 heaping tsp of curry powder and 1 level tsp of cumin. Mix well and taste it again. Repeat as needed, adding only a small amount of spice at a time to avoid adding too much.
  10. Continue to cook for about 30 more minutes then add the lemon juice and salt to the mixture and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. (Don’t let the sauce completely boil away)
  11. Cook Basmati rice according to package.

Note: Total cooking time is about 4 hours. Be patient, it’s worth the wait!

Serve the curry over a bed of Basmati rice. Makes about 6 servings (approximate cost: $1.68 per serving).

Garlic-y Peppers with Mushrooms and Pork Patties

On New Year’s Eve, I had dinner with friends. It was a lovely meal similar to the one in this title. The menu consisted of peppers, mushrooms (a vegetable I tend to avoid), celery and garlic sautéed in olive oil, ground chicken patties topped with Asiago and parmesan cheeses, and jasmine rice. Aside from some quesadillas a friend served me last summer, this was one of the few times I ate (and enjoyed) mushrooms. The meal was so delightful that I tried it myself at home the next week. Unfortunately, my local grocery store didn’t have ground chicken in stock, so I modified the original to use ground pork.

Garlicky Peppers and Mushrooms

The vegetables, in my opinion, are what make this meal. When the vegetables are sautéed (but still a bit crispy), they are delicious! The first time I made this dish, I overcooked the peppers. Since then, I’ve learned to prepare this part of the meal last to ensure the vegetables are still a bit crisp when served.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 stalks of celery, rinsed and chopped – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 peppers (green, yellow, or red), julienned – approximate cost $2.00
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • Olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • Salt to taste – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Sautéedthe garlic for about a minute.
  3. Add the celery and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and peppers (one green pepper and one red pepper) and cook for 3-4 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and add a dash of salt.

Peppers with mushrooms

Pork Patties

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground pork – approximate cost $4.00
  • 1 large egg – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons Romano cheese – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the pork, egg, some breadcrumbs and the rosemary into a large bowl and mix with your hands until well blended (start with a small amount of breadcrumbs and add more to the mixture as needed).
  3. Form the mixture into patties and set on a plate.
  4. Pan fry the patties until the outsides are browned.
  5. Move to a baking dish.
  6. Top with your choice of cheeses (hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago work well). Try using more than one type of cheese if you’re feeling adventurous.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes (or until cooked through).

Pork patties with rice

Jasmine Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cups water

Method

  1. Cook rice according to directions on package.

Serve pork patties and vegetables on a bed of jasmine rice.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.86 per serving).

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